Your heat and air conditioning equipment works year round, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Yet many homeowners never stop to consider whether their HVAC System is performing optimally. An inefficient system could be wasting a lot of energy, contributing to more than necessary costs on your home electricity bill. An energy efficient HVAC system that is operating at optimal performance levels, in contrast, can save you a lot of money long-term. Read how to spot whether your HVAC system is performing up to par, and see if you need a more robust HVAC system.
How Do You Know If Your HVAC Is Inefficient?
You can assess the efficiency of your system fairly easily. Here are the top six most common signs that your home has an HVAC system that is not energy efficient:
1. Your system is aged
An HVAC system over ten years old is likely not operating efficiently. Older HVAC systems will often compensate for their aging parts by running longer cycles, which results in more energy usage. Check the efficiency rating of your current system. Older heating systems may only have from 56% to 70% annual fuel utilization efficiency. Upgrading to a new energy efficient HVAC system such as one with an AFUE of over 98% will keep your home warmer and reduce your utility costs. A newer more efficient unit will pay for itself by reducing the amount being paid for utilities.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program recommends replacing air conditioners and heat pump units after just 10 years, and furnaces and boiler units after 15 years. Using the current seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) requirements, you want to replace an old HVAC system with a newer energy efficient HVAC system every 10 years.
2. Dirty air filters
Dirty air filters can impair the efficiency of your HVAC system. Just by changing your air filters every 30 to 90 days you can make a huge difference to your HVAC system and the comfort level in your home, according to Energy Star®. Dirty air filters block the air flowing through your system, causing the system to work harder and use more energy. Also, if your filters are dirty, they cannot stop dirt and dust from building up in your system. As debris accumulates in your system, your system has to work harder and will not operate at peak efficiency. Over time, it will shorten the system’s life span.
3. Unexplained increase in utility bills
If you notice your bills becoming higher than they used to be, consider whether the issue is your HVAC system. The cost of operating it should be relatively stable from year to year. If it suspect that it isn’t, review your utility billing history. If you see that your charges have increased, that is a clear sign that you need to upgrade to a more energy efficient HVAC system.
4. Frequent repairs are necessary
One key sign that your system is operating at a less than optimum level is frequent calls to your HVAC technician for repairs. While annual routine maintenance can help you avoid major expenses in future, frequently repairing your HVAC system could be a sign that your HVAC is failing. While it can be hard to determine whether your HVAC system needs a quick repair or a full replacement, there are several signs to look for. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that if you are facing a repair that costs half the cost of a new system, it’s wiser to simply replace it with an more energy efficient HVAC.
5. Uneven heating from room to room
Temperature variations throughout the house can be the result of an improperly designed HVAC system. Be aware that conventional HVAC systems with ductwork are prone to leakage, so much so that it can compromise overall system efficiency by up to 30 percent. Additionally, these units often expel the heated air inefficiently on only one side of a room near the registers. This often creates drafts and homeowners will constantly adjust the thermostat as they try to get comfortable.
Additionally, an undersized HVAC system will not be able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. It will run constantly as it tries to keep up with the demand to stay warm, which results in a substantial waste of energy and higher heating bills than necessary. A properly sized and zoned system can result in shorter duct runs throughout your house and improved efficiency. An energy efficient HVAC with a zoned system also allows you to heat and cool only the areas of the house that you are using.
6. Unexplained illness
If you or any of your family members have unexplained symptoms that mimic the flu such as nausea, headaches, or burning eyes, an older and inefficient heating system might be the cause. Older heating systems can develop cracks in the heat exchanger causing airborne gases like carbon monoxide to leak into the air. These trace elements can cause flu-related symptoms and other unexpected illnesses. If you have a heat exchanger that is 20 years or older and you are experiencing unexplained illness, don’t take any chances; upgrade to an energy efficient HVAC today!
Consider Installing a New HVAC System
New HVAC systems take care of household comfort with individual zones controllers that distribute heated air only when and where it is needed. With a controller for each room, you can achieve your desired room-temperature without adjusting the air temperature in unoccupied spaces. Moreover, modern HVACs can run continuously at variable speeds on significantly less energy than older models, saving you money in the process. In fact, homeowners can save as much as 40 percent on their energy bills with an more energy efficient HVAC system.
Speak to a reputable HVAC Contractor for more information about installing a new HVAC system or to schedule a free estimate.